Archive for 2017

Mike Krieger Asks “Is Trump About To Massively Expand America’s Imperial Wars?”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,


Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. – Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Many people voted for Donald Trump based on his pledge of “America First.” The idea behind this partly relates to the very legitimate concern that the U.S. Empire and its military-industrial-contractor benefactors have been squandering an enormous amount of treasure and tax money on foreign adventurism, funds which could be of much greater use at home helping struggling Americans, fixing our broken economy and infrastructure. I’m starting to become increasingly concerned that rather than winding down America’s foreign adventures, Trump and his team are preparing to expand them.

The always excellent Robert Parry at Consortium News got me thinking about this with his recent post. Here are a few excerpts:

The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

Yet, as much standing as the Kagans retain in Official Washington’s world of think tanks and op-ed placements, they remain mostly outside the new Trump-era power centers looking in, although they seem to have detected a door being forced open.

On Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Robert Kagan’s brother Frederick and his wife Kimberly

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Chinese Home Prices “Unexpectedly” Rebound; Government Loses Interest In “Curbs”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On Friday, we summarized research reports from Deutsche Bank and Bank of America, which came to the same conclusion: the fate of the global economic rebound may be in the hands of the Chinese housing bubble, which through price appreciation has unleashed wealth effect equivalent to twice the annual disposable income of China.


We concluded by saying that those who are looking for key inflection points to determine the future trajectory of the global economy, in addition to the global (read Chinese) credit impulse, we suggest keeping a close eye on what happens with Chinese housing, which has become a – if not the – top variable for the fate of the both the great inflation-deflation debate, as well as the overall fate of the world economy

The key variable is “how Beijing manages to deflate the existing bubble: if it fails to be aggressive enough, home prices will once again spike, leading to an even more precarious bubble. If it is too aggressive, a hard landing is in store, coupled with what a crash in the country’s financial system, where the bulk of the banks’ $35 trillion in assets is collateralized by housing values. While such a crash may not necessarily lead to a catastrophe for China, where the government ultimately backstops all the banks, the deflationary wave spread around the globe from a housing crash would be dire.”

One answer was revealed just hours later, when on Saturday China’s NBS revealed that following two months of broad but shallow declines, in February there was an unexpected rebound in Chinese home prices, which last month rose in more cities despite increased “restrictions” on property transactions by local authorities. As Bloomberg reported, new home prices, excluding subsidized housing, gained in February in 56 out of 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 45 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. Furthermore, prices climbed in 67 out of 70 cities from a year earlier, compared with 66 in January. 

As Goldman calculates, prices in the primary market increased 0.4% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment (weighted by population) in February, the same as the growth rate in January.

And while on a year-over-year, population-weighted basis, housing prices in the 70

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New Study In D.C. Finds That New $15 Minimum Wage Could Cost 1,200 Jobs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Ted Goodman via The Daily Caller

A new study that analyzes the potential effects of a $15 minimum wage in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), found that an increase to $15 could cost 1,200 jobs.


The District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis released a report Thursday, asserting that 150,000 workers in the District would be affected by the higher minimum wage and as many as 1,200 jobs could be lost by 2020 due to the new policy.  Of course, nearly one-third of those jobs are in the food service industry where young people, already suffering from massive unemployment rates, represent a disproportionate percentage of the labor force. 


The study further states that as many as 2,000 jobs could succumb to the increased minimum wage by 2026.

The mayor’s “Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act,” stipulates that the minimum wage increases to $15 an hour by 2020, with incremental increases each year. The minimum wage is currently $11.50.


The findings revealed that nearly two-thirds of the pay increases will benefit non-D.C. residents who work in the District, but live elsewhere (likely Virginia or Maryland, which borders D.C.). While nearly two-thirds of the pay increases go to non-residents, D.C. residents will absorb 80 percent of the job losses.

“This study proves what we’ve known all along: this dramatic D.C. wage hike will hurt the most vulnerable in the District, costing them jobs and important economic opportunities,” Jeremy Adler, Communications Director for America Rising Squared, a conservative policy organization, told the Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF).

“D.C. must focus on creating more good-paying jobs for workers that need them the most and it’s clear an artificial minimum wage increase is the wrong approach to achieving this goal,” Adler continued.

The Obama administration proposed an increase to the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour in 2013. The former president continued to call for an increase in the federal minimum wage throughout his presidency.

Seattle, Washington raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2014, followed by San Francisco and Los Angeles. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a new $15 minimum wage for his state in 2016, and the University of California proposes to pay its low-wage employees $15.

Deutsche Bank Prices €8 Billion Stock Offering At 35% Discount

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Two weeks after Deutsche Bank first announced it would raise €8 billion in capital as part of a comprehensive restructuring, the German lender on Sunday announced the terms of its upcoming massive dilution.

In a nutshell, Deutsche Bank said it will raise €8 billion ($8.6 billion) by selling stock at a 35% discount to Friday’s closing price in a rights offering. The TERP (Theoretical ex-right price) of €15.79, is based on the last closing price of €17.86. The transaction subscription price is €11.65. The Subscription price represents a 26% discount to TERP based on the March 17 closing price.

The mechanics of the offering: Deutsche Bank will issue 687.5 million new shares at €11.65 apiece, it said in a statement Sunday, in-line with the firm’s March 5 announcement on the planned sale. The offer compares with the stock’s closing price of €17.86 on Friday, and is almost 41% lower than where the stock traded when Bloomberg first broke the news of the imminent capital raising on March 3.

As part of the rights offering, DB shareholders may subscribe for 1 new ordinary share for every 2 existing shares held. The subscription rights expected to be traded on German exchanges March 21-April 4, and on NYSE March 21-31. As Bloomberg adds, the reference price for rights is expected to be approximately €2.07.

The sale of equity will be the fourth capital infusion for Deutsche Bank since 2010. Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, who had previously said he didn’t want to tap shareholders, reversed course this month after the shares almost doubled from their September low and Deutsche Bank was unable to find a buyer for a consumer banking unit. Still, even after DB’s shares decline this month ahead of the capital increase, the stock is still up 80% from the record low

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America First? 200,000 Troops Deployed To 177 Nations

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

There was no shortage of cuts proposed in Trump’s budget for 2018, which was released earlier this week. However, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, one of the few departments that did not receive a haircut was the Department of Defense. If the proposed budget ultimately passes in Congress, the DoD would be allocated an extra $54 billion in federal funding – a 10% increase that would be one of the largest one-year defense budget increases in American History.

To put the proposed increase in context, the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Meanwhile, the additional $54 billion is about the size of the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


With over half of all U.S. discretionary spending being put towards the military each year, the U.S. is able to have extensive operations both at home and abroad. Our chart for this week breaks down military personnel based on the latest numbers released by the DoD on February 27, 2017.

In total, excluding civilian support staff, there are about 2.1 million troops. Of those, 1.3 million are on active duty, while about 800,000 are in reserve or part of the National Guard.

On a domestic basis, there are about 1.1 million active troops stationed in the United States, and here’s how they are grouped based on branch of service:

Internationally, there are just under 200,000 troops that are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world.

In 2015, Politico estimated that there are 800 U.S. bases abroad, and that it costs up to $100 billion annually to maintain this international presence.

Weekly Market Recap Mar 19, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

After a rare down week in 2017, indexes returned to gains albeit mild this past week.  Almost all the action was contained on Wednesday when the market gained nearly 1% with much of that happened post a (widely expected) Federal Reserve announcing a quarter rate hike.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday lifted a key short-term interest rate for the second time in three months, but in a sign of caution, the central bank stuck to its forecast for just two more rate hikes this year.  The bank pointed to steady U.S. growth, an improving labor market and greater confidence among consumers and businesses to justify its decision to raise its fed funds rate to a range of 0.75% to 1%.   The vote was 9-to-1. The president of the Minneapolis Fed preferred to leave rates unchanged.

The Fed also noted a recent uptick in prices has resulted in inflation “moving close” to its 2% target, another critical component in its decision. The bank’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE index, rose at a 1.9% pace in the 12-month span ended in January — more than double the rate as recently as last summer.

At this point I believe even most bulls would love a 3-5% pullback to get re-positioned as it’s been a VERY long rally post election with nary a pullback of significance.  But the 2 major indexes are just hanging in there.  This current move without a 5% pullback is over 3 times as long as average since the 2009 bottom!

The S&P 500 has grinded higher for 182 trading days without a 5% pullback, the longest such streak since Feb. 11, 2004, according to Dow Jones data. Over those 182 days, the S&P 500 has gained nearly 19%.  Since the start of the bull market — not counting the current run of trading days without a pullback of 5% or more — the S&P 500 has averaged going about 56 sessions before it pulls back 5% or more

On the economic front, Tuesday the government said producer prices jumped in February by 0.3%, above consensus expectations of 0.1%,…
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Senator Hints That Trump May Resign: “I Think He Is Going To Get Himself Out”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Mac Slavo via,

It’s no secret that there is a concerted effort underway to do everything possible to remove President Donald Trump from office.

From Russian ties to business conflicts of interests, both Democrats and Republicans are actively working to find chinks in the President’s armor.

But for those with hope of change in their hearts, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein says there is a possibility that Trump will eventually remove himself from office by filing his own resignation.

Speaking to a crowd during a town hall-style Questions and Answers session, Feinstein was asked how Congress is going to deal with Trump’s alleged illegal activities:

Journalist: We don’t know what’s happening but we know that he is breaking laws every day, he’s making money at Mar-a-lago, he’s getting copyrights in China, he has obvious dealings with Russia, the Dakota pipeline… there’s some many things that he’s doing that are unconstitutional… how are we going to get him out?

Feinstein: We have a lot of people looking at this… Technical people… I think he’s going to get himself out… I think sending sons to another country to make a financial deal for his company and then have that covered with government expenses… I think those government expenses should not be allowed.. we are working on a bill that will deal with conflict of interest… it’s difficult…

Videos of Feinstein speaking to what appears to be a local press pool of reporters and protesters appear below. You can jump to 1:30 in the first video to listen to Feinstein discuss Trump’s conflicts of interests, or watch from the beginning to hear Feinstein’s response to how her husband’s firm directly benefited from bills she voted into law, proving once again that the hypocrisy of socialist Congressional representatives from California has no bounds…

Part 1:

Part 4 of Q&A. A protester asked “how do we get Trump out” @SenFeinstein responds: “I think he is going to get himself out.”

— Javier Panzar (@jpanzar) March 17, 2017


Part 5 of @SenFeinstein Q&A

— Javier Panzar (@jpanzar) March 17, 2017

Deutsche Bank: “The Probability Of A Negative Shock Is High”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For the second week in a row, Deutsche Bank’s strategist Parag Thatte has a somewhat conflicted message for the bank’s clients: on one hand, he writes that positive economic surprises continue “but are getting less so”, and although the divergence between har data surprises and sentiment is diminishing the bank is somewhat confident that a “pullback in the very near term is unlikely” (here DB disagrees with Goldman Sachs). However, Thatte is increasingly hedging, and notes that because a “rally without a 3-5% sell-off that is typical every 2-3 months is now running over 4 months and is in the top 10% of such rallies by duration”, he cautions that “the probability of seeing a negative shock is high” especially since Q1 buyback blackout period has begun.

Here are the key observations from the Deutsche Bank strategist:

  • The equity market rally has been going uninterrupted for a long time, driven by the unusual resurgence of positive data surprises. Strong data surprises drove equity inflows and fund positioning, adding to the steady support from buybacks. An expectation that positive data surprises were likely to persist underpinned DB’s call 2 weeks ago that a pullback was unlikely in the very near term. The bank takes stock of the current situation below:
  • Duration of rally now in top 10%. The rally without a 3-5% sell-off that is typical every 2-3 months is now running over 4 months and is in the top 10% of such rallies by duration.

  • Data surprises positive but getting less so. While incoming data in the last week has continued to surprise to the upside relative to consensus, it has done so at a more modest rate and DB’s data surprises index, the MAPI, is now declining off its highs.

  • Divergence between sentiment and hard data surprises diminishing. Attention has focused on the divergence between sentiment data which has run up strongly and hard data which has so far lagged. In terms of surprises, i.e., relative to what’s priced into consensus forecasts, hard data surprises have fallen back to neutral over the last two weeks, while sentiment surprises have declined this week but remain elevated. The surge in sentiment data is getting built into consensus forecasts and sentiment surprises also moving down to neutral over the next 3-4

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Obama, Bernanke and Yellen Rigged the Bond Market. Now it’s Trump Turn to Dance or be their Dunce! – By Michael Carino

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Government dysfunction is at its worst.  We voted them in.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Granted, the choices were abysmal. But the Republican and Democratic parties,

with no third party competition, can continue to run dysfunctional governments,

whittling away our dominant global position until the cracks of our broken government

becomes abundantly clear.  As a society,

we play right into their subterfuge of keeping us so upset at the other party,

we don’t see right in front of our own eyes the decay of policies created to reflect

the success and desires of just one party.  Polarized politics that take the best and

worst policies of one party instead of the best of both parties is destined to

end in a deep, painful recession and possibly a global depression.  Pathetically, America is chained to a wall in

Plato’s cave with half watching MSNBC and the other half Fox News since birth.  I fear changing the channel would be like Zhuangzi’s

seventh hole in Wonton instead of enlightenment.  We are stuck with the landscape in front of us

for now.

Since the dawn of politics, politicians have tried to

balance keeping themselves in office and destroying the competing politicians

while keeping the economy healthy and vibrant to ensure reelections.  Similar to strangling the golden goose to get

every last golden egg without killing the goose, politicians play the same game

with the economy.  Passing poor economic

policies to reward constituents without derailing forward progress in an

economy is a hard task and often leads to disastrous results.  In the US, when politicians pursue poor

economic policies down party lines, the results from poor performance is swift

and new politicians are elected.

The financial crisis of 2008 proved that poor economic

performance leads to significant political change. It also proved that when

pressed with a disaster, politicians can come together – though at the last possible

moment – and craft policies to remedy the situation.  But that harmonious bipartisan relationship

only lasted for moments.  Once the

systemic downward spiral stabilized, their cooperation ended.  The task to get the economy away from the

brink of a stabilized disaster and grow

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Japanese Stocks Are Cheap, But Will It Matter?

By Lawrence Hamtil. Originally published at ValueWalk.

For much of the last 25 years, Japanese equities have delivered subpar returns relative to the broader global equity markets:

In fact, from January of 1992 through February of this year, the Dow Jones Japan Total Return index has returned only 1.7% annualized, versus roughly 7.5% for the Dow Jones Global Total Market index.

It is true that a main culprit for this lackluster performance was that by the start of the 1990s, Japan had become one of the largest – if not the largest – equity bubbles of all time. For those who were not alive then, it may be difficult to imagine that by the early 1990s, Japan accounted for some 40% of the global equity market, versus only about 30% for the United States, according to data from Credit Suisse.

One would think that after such a long period of anemic returns that Japanese equities would be bargain-priced relative to the developed world, but, on the surface, that doesn’t appear to be the case:

However, in the case of Japan, valuation analysis must take into account the enormous cash piles on which Japanese corporations are sitting.  To put corporate Japan’s cash hoard in perspective, we can look at it as a percentage of market capitalization, which the IMF has calculated using recent data:

(chart via IMF)

Relative to Japanese GDP, Japanese corporate cash stockpiles are even more eye-popping (again, via the IMF):

(chart via IMF)

[Note:  The above-cited IMF reports are believed to be the latest analysis of Japan’s corporate cash situation, and there is no evidence that percentages have shifted significantly since 2013.]

Because of these huge cash amounts, and also because of the fact that that cash is earning little or no interest, it is necessary to adjust equity valuation metrics accordingly [Note:  Professor Aswath Damodaran has a great post on this, so while I will use his methodology, I will not repeat his comments here.]

We can extrapolate Japan’s current stock market capitalization by using the 2015 World Bank data which reports a value of roughly $4.9 trillion, and multiply that by a factor of about 1.1, based on estimated Japanese equity market performance, and inferring Japanese equity earnings from its trailing twelve-month P/E ratio of 19.4.  Based on the…
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Zero Hedge

Will The US Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Nick Cunningham via,

There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear deeper dependence on Russia for gas supplies, a sentiment echoed by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, many in Western Europe are less concerned,...

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US is already fighting a conflict with Iran - an economic war that is hurting the wrong people


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US is already fighting a conflict with Iran – an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

Courtesy of David Cortright, University of Notre Dame

Many are worried about the risk of war with Iran after the Trump administration leaked discussions of a troop deployment in response to claimed threats to U.S. warships in the region.

And in r...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University


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More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...

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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism


The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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